Justice, or a haven for muggers?

Local media have announced the joyous news that the first segment of the Emerald Trail is open.

Now for the rest of the story, as the great Paul Harvey used to say.

This enormously expensive project will “allow bikers and walkers to traverse between the west side of Downtown Jacksonville,” according to one news story.

Eye on Jacksonville decided to peer a little closer at this wonderful opportunity.

We went to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office crime mapping site and looked at an area within a one-mile radius of Myrtle Avenue and Kings Road. It encompasses the new section of the Emerald Trail.

It showed 33 crimes committed within the span of one week, including several batteries and a murder on Grothe Street.

For the privilege of being able to stroll through this and other high-crime neighborhoods in Jacksonville, taxpayers are spending $132 million of their money, by paying more for gasoline.

That does not include the cost of an increased police presence in the area or the cost of arresting, trying and incarcerating perpetrators.

But urbanists are thrilled with the project, hailing it as a great leap forward. Whether they will walk the trail at midnight themselves remains to be seen.

The project is the work of Groundwork Jacksonville, which declares “Our mission is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.” 

To its credit Groundwork has removed tons of trash from the trail area, and is promoting cleanups of Hogans and McCoys creeks.

However, it is one of 21 such organization in the nation and one red flag is the national organization’s declaration of fealty to the cause of “environmental justice.” It also espouses “equity and inclusion.” That marks it as woke, and suspect.

The tax-exempt charity Groundwork USA says in its tax records “Description of organization mission: economic, and social well-being. the organization is committed to changing places, changing lives, and changing systems to meet our vision of a world in which everyone can live in a community that is healthy, green, just and resilient.”

Local media also have reported that the $132 million project is getting a $147 million federal grant, without making it clear whether that is in addition to or in lieu of the announced cost.

One already can walk the route. What the Emeral Trail will add and whether it will be worth the cost seems problematic.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *